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Beyondblue

Well, October is well an truly over, and I have finished my month of posts for Mental Health Awareness month. I have shared a lot about what goes on in this crazy little head of mine. Hopefully some of it has helped some of you to feel ‘normal’.

I would really like to thank every one who contacted me in their own little way to show support, share a similar story or just reach out. Anxiety and depression is only going to be easier to deal with when you let yourself be vulnerable enough to allow others to help. The voices in our heads are there to test us, and we have the power to turn the volume down.

It is so wonderfully okay to feel low. It is also a treat to feel good. You will survive both emotions and all the little twinges in between.

Don’t worry I’m not going to stop writing. I won’t be writing every day, but I am going to make the effort to write more often than I was. It is such good therapy for me.

And as always, I would love to hear what you are going to do to help improve your mental health.

Thanks for joining me!

Llew

Ahhhhh. That was nice. Three days off from my computer. I don’t remember how long it has been since I did that.

Running my own business sure has a way of taking up all of my ‘spare’ time. That is once the kids are dropped off, hubby is at work, and I can finally concentrate.

A few things have happened for me over the last few days too. Very small things, but worth mentioning just the same…

On Friday morning I finally went back to group training at the gym. The first time for me in around two years. Yes I have been going to my weekly PT sessions, but I had not been participating in any training sessions – oh other than the tiny ones I would set myself the task of completing (and then promptly find a reason as to why I couldn’t do it that week).

So last week, I made a promise to myself that I would join my bestie at group training on Friday. And I almost didn’t get there.

Firstly I got up at 7.30am – I know, it is a sleep in for our house too, hubby wasn’t working that day so I managed to skive off the breakfast duties with the kids – said good morning to the kiddies, then went & got changed into my gym gear.

Left the house by 7.55am to head to my sisters to drop off some keys. On the way down to her place (which is 5 minutes away from the Gym), my brain started thinking up ways to miss the session.

You could always go and have a late breakfast somewhere and come home around the time you would if you actually went to the session… No one will know.

Just start next week. Or the week after that.

No one will miss you if you don’t go.

To which I had to turn up the radio to ignore my thoughts. I arrived at my sisters had a chat, a coffee, and then had thirty minutes to spare. My brain started again.

You don’t need to go.

What’s the point? You are so unfit anyway. You won’t be able to run. You’ll end up in pain. 

You a big fat scaredy cat who hates being in large groups… why would you even want to put yourself through that uncomfortable situation?

Just give up…

It would have been so easy to use any of these excuses. And several times I actually thought – why not? But then I knew, deep, deep, deep, deep, DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP, down that I would feel better for going. I just had to get the monsters in my head to shush!

I left my sisters, and found a park not far from the gym. I walked (ever so slowly) to the entrance and then the receptionist saw me. There was no backing out now. I was stuck. There was visual evidence of me being at the gym.

I paid, dumped my bag, then realised I hadn’t brought a hat or sunglasses – and the gym had sold out of visors. Another excuse to pack my bag and go home. Instead I walked back outside, sat on the steps and put my head in my hands trying to drown out the voices.

Moments later I spotted my bestie and her two kids heading to the front steps. I got up quickly and started helping her put the kids into creche and get herself ready. I told her I had forgotten everything and wouldn’t you know it – she had a spare visor in her bag.

That shut the voices up pretty quickly and I finally smiled. I was shitting myself on the inside, worried I was going to be a disaster, that I wouldn’t be able to keep up, but I tried not to show it.

An hour later I was sweating, sore and out of breathe. Dying from a hard session – but grateful I had persisted and made it through. I was a wreck. I was hopeless. It was VERY evident that I had not trained for some time. But at least I did it. And, I wasn’t the only one who struggled in the group. Thank goodness!

The rest of the day I spent in recovery mode – which means I showered and sat on the lounge watching movies with my little guy all day. I told you I was wrecked!

Saturday we spent at home fixing up inside and out on those annoying little jobs you never get time to do. The kids got picked up mid afternoon for a sleep over at their grandmas, as hubby and I were heading into town to see Russell Brand live.

So we had some quiet time and watched a whole movie without interruptions – it really is the little things.

We got ready, headed into town for a bite to eat at this hidden little Japanese restaurant. Honestly if we hadn’t of been there before years and years ago – we would’ve thought it was super dodgy. But it wasn’t. What they didn’t spend on material decor, they spent on iPads for each table that displayed the menu. You ordered directly via the iPad and the kitchen received the order. Minutes, and I mean minutes, later your order was delivered to your table.

Genius.

On to the main event and hubby and I laughed our guts up. It had been a while since we had been on a date night and we really enjoyed it. Laughing like we hadn’t laughed in a while at Russell Brand tell stories and entertaining, whilst delivering a non-political, political message. If that makes sense?

Sunday was all about family. We got to celebrate my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary. Unlike many things these days, we had all managed to keep it a surprise, so that when they arrived there were shocked faces, lots of laughter and hugs all round.

So my weekend was made up of a lot of things – family, exercise, laughter, friends and rest – all the things that help me in my day-to-day. All the things I need to keep my anxiety and depression at bay.

And wouldn’t you know it, I am feeling good.

I am a stubborn little cow.

For so long I thought I had to nail this ‘Mum’ thing all by myself. I honestly thought I had to be able to cope with all the demands of motherhood on my own, alone, just me.

It has taken me years to realise that it takes more than just me to raise my kids. Yes, I needed to ask for help. Help from my hubby, help from my mum, my dad, my in-laws, my brother and sister, and their other halves.

I pushed away offers of help, I had to be in control, at all times, no matter what the cost to my health. I would obsess that anyone who looked after my kids wasn’t doing it ‘right’. I would write out instructions as to what had to happen when, sleep times, food, bottles, nappy changes. It had to be done my way or not at all.

The control was what I thought was keeping me sane, attached to reality.

When the truth was, it was just one more thing to cement in my mind that I was failing at. That I hadn’t given enough instruction, or hadn’t been clear enough to those looking after my babies.

From day care to grandparents, I had to have the routine down pat otherwise it wouldn’t work.

I would compare myself to those who didn’t have to work. I would think that because I had to leave my children each day, that I was losing precious time with them that I wouldn’t get back. I believed everyone was judging me for putting my kids in care. But then I knew I couldn’t cope with being home all day. I would literally go crazy.

Then comes the guilt. For not being able to handle my own children every day. For not being the best mum. For wanting to go to work to get some time off. What a cycle of negativity.

It has taken so much retraining of my brain with Psychologists to get to the point where I now realise that my kids need to miss me. They need to realise that I will leave and then return again. That I don’t have to be the one and only carer.

Over time, the need to keep control over my children in other care has subsided. I tell myself all the time that if I am going to get time to myself, or time off from the kids, that I need to let go of the hangups about others looking after my two monsters. That even if it is not the way I look after them, the fact I’m not in charge for even a little while is better for my brain than if I don’t take the break.

It has carried into the early years of my daughter going to school too. This year I have dealt with some severe loss in the family, and without the community of neighbours and parent friends from school, I could not have been there for the final weeks.

If I had not just let go of my anxiety around asking for help from friends and family, I would have regretted not being able to say goodbye. Sometimes it isn’t even about asking, but accepting an offer when someone puts it to you.

My first instinct is to always thank the person for the offer, but then turn it down. Not wanting to be a burden or letting go of that control. And I would still be that way if my friends hadn’t been truthful with me and hounded me to let them help. I finally caved and the sense of relief was enormous.

Children aren’t meant to be raised on their own. I realise this now. It takes more than the family unit to teach them how to grow up safe and strong, and build their beliefs. They need to experience others and how they run their own families to know that not everyone is the same and there is not one way to get the same result.

Time has, and is still, changing the way I believe what being a parent really is all about. No one tells you this stuff. Everyone just focuses on ‘When are you getting pregnant?’ or ‘When are you due?’. But no one tells you what a rollercoaster ride of emotions building your own family can be.

How you can be frustrated, angry, overwhelmed, adoring, nostalgic, ecstatic and the rest all in a matter of minutes. Especially at 2am with a screaming or sick child.

And the whole time you are always wondering what damage you are doing to your flesh and blood.

In the end they survive in spite of us. In the end they survive because of us.

What a busy day. So busy I didn’t even get to the computer!

I travelled to Tempe Public School as the representative of beyondblue to take part in the first annual National Bounce Back Pogo-thon.

I was in awe of these amazing students, pogoing for an hour in amazing heat, to complete the challenge set for them. With regular drink breaks, and rest stops, they still managed to pogo throughout the hour over obstacles with big beaming smiles on their faces.

It was such a fun day and a tribute to the organisation of the event provided by Barton Williams and Pogo Pulse.

Here is a preview of our day –

 

Talk about being nervous!

What a proud moment to be an Ambassador for beyondblue. 

Looking forward to a great day of fundraising, and pogoing at the National Bounce Back Day Pogo-Thon at Tempe Public School This Friday 16 October 2015.

Go here to donate to beyondblue for the fundraiser – https://give.everydayhero.com/au/national-bounce-back-day-pogo-thon

Today is a day when I have nothing to say.

This is not a bad thing. Sometimes, the silence in my mind is a good thing.

I am enjoying the sunshine. I have been in the garden. I have been to the pool with the kids and got wet. Nothing strenuous, and my mind isn’t racing.

Tonight I am going out for drinks with friends, and I have told them many times I am coming. Now all I need to do is make sure I get there. I won’t let the anxiety creep in and tell me to stay home. I won’t think I have nothing interesting to say. I will not worry about anything.

My friends will even read this and laugh when I show my face.

I have great friends that can laugh at me.

I am pretty fucking funny after all.

 

Today is back to school for my daughter, back to kindy for my son, and back to work for me & hubby.

I think we were all a little sheepish today. Daylight savings has us in a mini fog, and this heat is adding to the tiredness. Day 4 of plus 30 degree temps in Sydney. Just unheard of for this time of year.

So back to the grind for the four of us.

I’m late writing this morning as i had a catch up session at the gym today. I missed last weeks due to the sickness in our home and I only remembered as I was falling asleep last night that I had planned to go today. I woke to my son telling me he had wet the bed. Our bed. He had crept in during the night (a habit he had gotten into whilst he was sick) and although he had been doing so well for the last few weeks, this morning he must have been extra tired and just did not wake up in time.

It was 5.45am. My response was to just get up with him and put on the shower. I woke my hubby who groaned unhappily, but he was due to get up at 6.00am so what did it matter. Doesn’t it feel better to wake up before your alarm anyway – so that you are not startled from your sleep?

See things like that don’t bother me. I don’t make a fuss with my son as i don’t want him to be upset about something that happens to everyone. I just get up and get on with the job.

He showered, and dressed for kindy, ate breakfast as I made his sisters lunch. I actually felt like I was in control this morning. I even managed to get the kids off to before school care & kindy with just enough time for me to make it to my training session.

And what a beautiful morning to arrive at Cronulla at the gym.

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Chatting to my trainer, I told him about how hubby and i have started our eating clean program, to kick start my mood. I know that not eating well affects my brain and so now we are working on that together.

The session was good, and then as we finished I jumped on the scales… I had put on 2kgs in 2 weeks. There is that comfort eating I knew I had been doing. I knew I felt disgusting, and now the scales had confirmed it. I had not been this heavy since I first started at the gym – back when Ryder was only 9 weeks old. And whilst I don’t put pressure on myself to be ultra skinny, I do know my ‘happy’ weight range and I was 4kgs above that.

I have to stop pretending that I don’t care about my weight. I do. And I know at the moment, the fact I can’t fit into any of my shorts from last summer that I am holding that pain inside. So forgive me for wearing my #activewear to work, but it is all that fits me right now.

And it’s hit me – I was in a bikini in front of my neighbours yesterday. Oh gees, what a fat, white mess.  Mind you a did put the disclaimer in before jumping in the pool that I was a fat, white mess… so at least I pre-warned them. I’m seriously pale – fluro even at the moment. Like my skin is allergic to the sun. Guess I need to leave the house more. *sigh*

I know that to feel better about myself I will have to put some effort in. But I have been struggling to exercise without knee pain. (More on that story later, I’m not yet ready to delve deeper there. Though I will get it out – as I’m sure it will relieve me.)

If I am eating right, I hope to have more energy and feel like trying low impact exercising. Mind you the garden work I did the other day I have claimed as my cardio for this week. Though the eating I did over the long weekend more than cancelled that out.

It’s another day today, and whilst I am feeling lighter in the head space, I still have so many doubts. Doubtful I will be able to stick to our healthy eating plan (notice I didn’t say diet? I don’t diet – as I treat it as a ongoing plan to eat healthy), doubtful I will get some exercise in, doubtful it will make a difference to my brain or my body, doubtful I am worth it.

But I have to keep on challenging those thoughts.